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MinGW and Why Linux Users Should Care

Dec 10, 2008, 09:05 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jonathan Corbet)

"Richard: For some time I have been making Windows builds of libvirt available and, frankly, it was a real chore. I needed a Windows virtual machine to do it. But Windows is so frustrating to use and maintain: it doesn't come with any of the tools such as shells or version control that we are used to, and because I was only doing builds once a month or so I'd go back to it and find something had gone wrong that would require maintenance or even reinstallation.

"During this time, we didn't routinely build libvirt for Windows. New code would inevitably break something. I had to fix things on Windows, then copy the code back to Linux and check that my fixes didn't break the Linux build, then come up with a patch, and all of this was complicated by the fundamental incompatibility of Windows with the rest of the world -- even simply copying code back and forth is irritatingly difficult when one machine is a Windows machine. (There's no ssh or scp or tar, files get executable bits set or have CRLF line endings, etc.)

"At the same time we were getting a strong demand for the rest of our virt tools on Windows. Enough was enough. We decided that the only way to deal with this was to remove Windows from the equation. We wanted to build and test libvirt and the virt tools for Windows routinely (daily or more often), from the Fedora host, using the normal development environment. The way to do this is through cross-compilation (the Fedora MinGW project) and testing under emulation (Wine)."

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